Tuesday, June 8, 2010

in search of sweetness

I have always, by and large, been what most people would describe as a sweet person.

But over the last 5 years, I've unwittingly watched and felt that sweetness slipping away.

I think it began with my time overseas in 2004. I went to Kazakhstan and then Russia in search of life experience and adventure. I got both, along with a big dose of the reality that the world is not always a pretty place. In Kazakhstan I took walks every day through a maze of dilapidated buildings, but even those were often above my notice because I was so busy looking out for used syringes and stepping around drunks on the ground. One of the many merits of living in the drug and HIV capital of Central Asia.

Russia was a different beast: after the novelty of the art, culture, and history of St. Petersburg wore off and the harshness of winter set in, life in a big city (or maybe just THAT big city) didn't agree with me. I was wracked with anxiety on my commute to and from work everyday during the descent into the deepest metro in the world. More than anything, I remember those rush hour rides, packed in like sardines with a bunch of people who didn't practice the habit of daily cleansing. Which made me want to shower 3x per day. I began to hate the pace and the anonymity and the hardness of every day and seemingly every nameless person on every street, and yet ironically, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to blend in with those very things to avoid standing out as a foreigner. It wore me out, and I returned several chinks less in my previously impenetrable armour of positivity.

Then I think I leveled out for a while. Getting a job with a nonprofit I loved helped. Falling in love really helped.

Then the accident happened and shit hit the fan. On multiple levels. Aside from life being turned upside down for months, there was just so much stress. Obviously. And trying to handle it while being nice to the 14,000 people that were calling, visiting, writing, and wanting to help became so exhausting. My priority was to get my fiance-now-husband BETTER, and there wasn't enough energy for that, and yet at the same time I felt expected to make an effort to keep everyone happy. There was no privacy; there was no rest. There was nothing left of me to even be concerned at how others were handling what had happened. I was walking a one-way street, and other people weren't my priority; he was. And after him, the priority was to keep myself functioning for the mere purpose of being able to devote everything right back to his care.

So sweet got bumped from my list of priorities. The problem is that it hasn't found its way back.

Since then, the ramifications of that period have extended into every facet of life. I feel like instead of making a comeback, I've continued to slid into a pit of negativity. I don't see myself making much investment into others. I don't have much interest, to be honest. I worry incessantly about things- finances especially. The wedding was a good distraction for a while, but now that it's all said and done, instead of having a honeymoon period, I find myself taking out my frustrations on my husband, and I'm not sure why. He pointed out the other day that he feels vulnerable, having not worked or been "in the game" for so long (tough on a man's ego), and the best I can do is criticize him for not folding the towels correctly. That doesn't help him, and it doesn't make me feel any better. I do not like myself much when I do things like this. It is not the person I want to be. I want to change.

He says he misses my sweetness.

I do, too.

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